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OECD Economic Surveys: Austria 2013

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Austria 2013

OECD's 2013 Economic Survey of Austria examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. This issue's special chapters cover long-term well-being.

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Austria's well-being goes beyond GDP

Austria enjoys strong material well-being and high quality of life. Steady convergence with top GDP per capita levels translated into decisive improvements in household disposable incomes while significant and effective redistribution has ensured low income inequality and poverty. This has been combined with gains in leisure time, especially time spent in retirement, low unemployment, high environmental standards, rising life expectancy, a well-functioning social support network and high subjective well-being. This performance was achieved with a unique combination of supportive conditions for a dynamic business sector, priority for family based care, a wide and deep supply of public services, and a well functioning social partnership framework. Particularly remarkable for a small open economy has been the degree of stability, which may have contributed to Austria’s high quality of life. However, a number of weaknesses also exist. Older, unskilled and in particular people with migrant background, have lower labour market attachments. Outcomes in education and health care are no more than average and are subject to inequalities. Family services are still mainly carried out by women, who have closed the gap in education attainment with men but face increasing tensions between work and family responsibilities and a high wage gap. Single parents and people with migrant background do not seem to have participated to the same degree as others in well-being gains. The gaps experienced by people with migrant background are in several dimensions larger than in the average OECD country.

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